A DAY IN THE LIFE OF…. Alice Rogers by SJV
Next up in our series of A Day in the Life of feature is @TeamBATC member, Project Editor Alice Rogers!
What does a project editor do?
I do most things that other editors do, except for acquiring books. (Although I do still get to read the submissions and report back, which is always a fun part of the job.) I brief our art department on new book covers, write cover copy, liaise with authors and agents and all other departments in the company on our plans for the books. Probably the biggest part of my job is desk editing, which is the stage of the process that happens after we have a final draft of the manuscript that the author and editor are happy with. We send it to be copyedited, then typeset, then proofread, then we keep checking the page proofs until we have a clean set ready to be signed off. I also help to edit our books. This is still a relatively new role for me, having been Editorial Assistant for a year first, so I largely work on edits with one of our acquiring editors – reading a draft and then discussing my thoughts with the lead editor, or typing up editorial notes that the lead editor can then assimilate into theirs or send on to the author.
Is there such a thing as a typical day, and if so what does it look like?
There is no such thing as a typical day! Part of what is so great about my job is that it’s so varied. There are some things that I end up doing most days: checking page proofs, proofreading cover layouts, a certain amount of admin. But then some days I might be briefing jackets, writing cover copy or working with a designer to perfect a cover look. Other days I might be in meetings chatting about marketing ideas or trying to come up with a book title. Sometimes I’ll spend an afternoon sending out copies of our books and then I might spend the next afternoon reading a first draft and writing up notes for the author/lead editor. There’s always something different to be working on and it never gets boring.
For the record, if I was a budding debut author, faced with the dreaded blank first page, what would be your top tip to bestseller success?
Write what you would want to read. I think a lot of people get caught up writing something that they think will sell – and obviously it is important to be aware of what is selling – but if you’re not writing something that you personally love, then it’s never going to be as good as a book that is authentically you and that you have poured your soul into. Once you start writing, try to write a little bit every day. Once you’re in the flow of writing, it’s surprisingly easy to continue, and you can always go back and edit what you don’t like. But once you stop, you can stall, and it can be hard to get back into it.
We’re obsessed with other people’s TBR piles, how high is yours? And do you have 2, one for work books and one for pleasure books?
My TBR pile feels never-ending! I just cannot resist buying new books, even when I have no idea when I’ll have time to read them. I do have two separate TBR piles – my work one is largely on my kindle and this is what I’ll spend my lunchtimes, evenings and weekends reading. Sometimes I’ll get some reading done in the office too, but there’s not always time. My other TBR pile is basically just my bookshelf (or I should say shelves). Whenever I have a spare moment, or if I’m going on holiday, I’ll grab a book off my shelf. But then my TBR pile will inevitably grow by another three books the next time I’m in the vicinity of a book shop. I also listen to A LOT of audiobooks – it’s a great way to find time for reading that isn’t work related.
Have you got a best and worst part of the job?
It’s really hard to think of a worst part. I genuinely love every aspect of my job – even the ‘boring’ bits like checking page proofs. Best part of the job – getting to help out on edits. Or seeing the first printed copies of a book I’ve been working on. Or working with debut authors who are just as excited as I am to be working on their book. Or. . . I could keep going, but I’ll stop there.
Is there an author you’d sell a limb to work with?
Funnily enough, a lot of the reading I do in my spare time is YA fiction, so a lot of the authors I’d love to work with are probably authors I will never have a chance to work with, seeing as I work on adult fiction! I already work with so many incredible authors though, so I’m pretty happy as I am.
What book do you most recommend to others?
I’m going to have to name more than just one, I’m afraid! Over the last year, whenever someone has asked me to recommend a book, Our House by Louise Candlish has been top of the list. Once you read #THATlastline, you just want other people to read it too so you can talk about it and be gobsmacked together! If You Were Here by Alice Peterson is another one that I keep telling people to read. It is so, so beautiful, and I just want to talk to as many people as possible about what they’d do if they were in the Flo’s position. The Sunday Lunch Club by Juliet Ashton is another. It is just gorgeous and warm and charming and it feels like a hug in book form. And when it comes to books that aren’t out yet – watch out for The Photographer of the Lost by Caroline Scott (out at the end of October), which is probably the most beautiful book I’ve ever read, and Love Songs for Sceptics by Christina Pishiris (out at the end of November), which is absolutely hilarious.
And lastly our quick fire trivia round…
Thing you’d never leave home without? My kindle
Favourite place to read? My sofa (boring answer, I know, but I intentionally bought a sofa with really high arms so I can lie out and read comfortably for hours)
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live? If I could move it closer to my family, New Zealand
What’s the secret to success? Persistence
What’s on your current reading pile? Too many books to name. The Burning by Laura Bates is top of my pile and I’m halfway through the audiobook of The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary
Staying in or Going out? Staying in
What’s your Signature dish? Chilli con carne
Beach break or city break? Beach break (not a big fan of sand, but I adore the sea)
Favourite Literary Hero? Jane Eyre
Famous last words? So long and thanks for all the fish